Newsflash: Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse has had issues.
Okay, perhaps neither news nor a flash. But does all of that really mean that the Eliza Dushku vehicle is doomed from the get go? Scifi.com has amassed seven possible warning signs to that very question. They break it down like this:
1. Pilot Issues – The first pilot, titled, “Echo” was scrapped after Fox execs voiced concerns that it was too hard to follow. Whedon blogged that, “Once it became clear what paradigm the network was shooting for, it
just didn’t fit at all, even after I’d reshot more than half of it.” And it’s ironic that the pilot was titled “Echo,” because it’s eerily reminiscent of what happened to Firefly.
2. Work Stoppage – Production was stopped for script issues on the fourth, sixth and seventh episodes. According to Joss: “To get a sense of how completely turned around I was during this
process, you should know there was a scene with Eliza and the
astonishing Ashley Johnson that I wrote and shot completely differently
three different times, with different characters in different places
(actually I wrote it closer to eight times), and none of it will ever
3. Bad Buzz – That goes without saying, considering the nature of the article, but fans have even started a “Save Dollhouse“ YouTube campaign already:
4. Bad Dialogue – in the trailer. That’s debatable and rather nitpicky, however. This show may be Whedon, but it isn’t going to be Buffy.
5. Friday Night Death Slot – We covered that one here. That’s probably bad but we’ll just have to wait and see.
6. Cast / Crew Issues – In this one the article went into a bit more detail, saying that some fans thought that Eliza looked “tired” and “bored” in the trailer. Bored? Only Dushku knows that for certain. But tired? Dushku would need prosthetics to ever look tired to me. The article even mentioned a Time quote regarding the Dollhouse concept as being less a series concept than “actress’ showcase”, which is a semi-valid point. But regarding Dushku herself, they “thought she was fine on Buffy. But she’s not exactly Toni Collette.” Adding into this, the character of November (Miracle Laurie) was dropped and Steven DeKnight was replaced by Jane Espenson. Lastly, the Time review commented that “If it weren’t for Whedon’s pedigree, I’m not sure I’d be dying to see
a second episode. But for me, the main draw now is not seeing Dushku
become a different person every week, but getting to see Joss Whedon
become a different writer every week.”
Now while I’ll admit that I’ve never seen Dushku in a heavily dramatic role, I think that she has much more going for her than just her nice (supple, highly shapely, nubile, mesmerizing, luscious) figure. So in that regard, I think the Time article sells her short.
7. Lack of Network Support – That’s been an issue? Get out.
While this is all rather empirical (or not), the bottom line is that this show hasn’t aired five minutes on network TV yet. So why not just let it at least do that before speed-dialing the Nielsen Grim Reaper?